Air travelers have rallied behind improved ease of access and a technologically enhanced customer experience in the post-pandemic era.
In the 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), customers are demanding that airports and airlines simplify the travel process and make convenience a top priority.
IATA’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Safety and Security Nick Kareen noted that travel during COVID-19 has been complicated, cumbersome and time-consuming due to government-imposed travel requirements.
“After the pandemic, passengers want improved convenience during their journey. Digitization and use of biometrics to speed up travel is the key,” Kareen said.
IATA noted that passengers want convenience when planning their trip and when choosing where to depart from. They prefer to fly from an airport close to home, have all booking options and services in one place, pay with their preferred payment method and easily offset their carbon emissions.
According to the results of the survey, proximity to the airport is the main priority of travelers when choosing where to fly from (75 percent). This is more important than the price of the ticket (39%).
Travelers are satisfied with the ability to pay with their preferred payment method, which is available to 82 percent of travelers. Access to planning and booking information in one place was identified as a top priority.
IATA’s Senior Vice President of Financial Payments and Distribution Services, Muhammad Albakri, said today’s passengers expect the same online experience they get from major retailers such as Amazon.
“Airline retail is the driving force in responding to these needs. It allows airlines to present their complete offer to passengers. And it gives the traveler control over their journey with the ability to choose the travel options they want with convenient payment options,” Albakri said.
In the field of travel facilitation, most travelers are willing to share their immigration information for more convenient processing. At least 37 percent said they were discouraged from traveling to a particular destination because of immigration requirements. The complexity of the process was cited as the main deterrent by 65 percent of travelers, 12 percent cited cost and eight percent cited time.
Where visas are required, 66% of travelers want to obtain a visa online before travel, 20% prefer to go to a consulate or embassy and 14% at the airport. A total of 83 percent of travelers said they would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process. Although this is high, it is slightly less than the 88 percent recorded in 2021.
“Travellers told us that barriers to travel remain. Countries with complicated visa procedures lose the economic benefits that these travelers bring. Where countries have abolished visa requirements, tourism and travel are booming.
“And for countries that require certain categories of travelers to obtain visas, taking advantage of travelers’ willingness to use online processes and share information in advance would be a win-win solution,” Kareen said.
Passengers are ready to take advantage of technology and redesigned processes to improve the convenience of their airport experience and manage their baggage.
Passengers are ready to complete processing elements outside the airport. 44 percent of travelers identify check-in as their top choice for off-airport processing. Immigration procedures were the second most popular “top choice” at 32 percent, followed by luggage. And 93 percent of travelers are interested in a special Trusted Traveler Program (background checks) to expedite security screening.